British Conservatives want to block local councils from BDS activity

The UK has been ground zero in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

October 4, 2015 03:32
1 minute read.
Anti-Israel BDS

Anti-Israel demonstrators march behind a banner of the BDS organization in Marseille, June 13.. (photo credit: GEORGES ROBERT / AFP)

BERLIN – Britain’s ruling Conservative Party wants legislation to stop economic warfare by local councils against Israel, Greg Clark, secretary of state for communities and local government, said on Saturday.

“Divisive policies undermine good community relations, and harm the economic security of families by pushing up council tax. We need to challenge and prevent the politics of division. Conservatives will provide the stable, competent and sensible government that working people want to see,” said Clark.

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The London Jewish Chronicle, which first reported the new policy, wrote that a Conservative Party spokesman said: “Labor’s [leader] Jeremy Corbyn and [Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer] John McDonnell, alongside Labor-affiliated trade unions, are urging councils to use their procurement and pension policies to punish both Israel and the UK defense industry.

“Hard-left campaigns against British defense companies threaten to harm Britain’s £10 billion export trade, destroying British jobs, and hinder joint working with Israel to protect Britain from foreign cyber-attacks and terrorism,” the spokesman said.

Matthew Hancock, Minister for the cabinet office and paymaster- general, said “Conservatives are on the common ground. We will take steps to stop such outdated policies being pursued through procurement and pension policies. We will safeguard the security of families at home and prevent such playground politics undermining our international security.”

A Conservative party spokesman said the administration of British Prime Minister David Cameron seeks to curb the anti-Israelism of “militant actions of left-wing councils.” The initiative to clamp down on BDS activity was announced ahead of the Tories’ annual conference in Manchester that began on Saturday.

Corbyn, who has declared that Hamas and Hezbollah are his “friends,” said ahead of his election as party leader that he supports a boycott of Israeli settlement goods. Labor MP Shabana Mahmood participated in a demonstration that temporarily shut down a supermarket that sold Israeli products.

The UK has been ground zero in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

In November, the Leicester City Council agreed to impose a boycott a products from settlements.

Prof. Robert S. Wistrich, the Hebrew University historian and the world’s leading expert on anti-Semitism, who died in this year, said “Britain has become the center point for the meeting of anti-Semitic trends in Europe.”

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